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Jun 14, 2014

Beckenbauer cancels World Cup trip

Franz Beckenbauer has called off his trip to Brazil after being provisionally banned by FIFA while an investigation takes place into his refusal to co-operate with a probe on World Cup bidding.

World football's governing body confirmed on Saturday that Beckenbauer is banned from attending any match at any level, even in a private capacity, although he will be permitted to continue as a pundit for television from a studio in Germany.

Alan Sullivan, the deputy chairman of FIFA's ethics committee's adjudicatory panel, said in a statement: "Franz Beckenbauer cannot participate in any football-related activity which includes amongst other things being invited to attend or attending on a private basis any football match in any capacity.''

Beckenbauer, a World Cup-winning player and manager with West Germany, said he had nothing to hide but that he would not be welcome at the tournament after his suspension.

He told Bild: "I won't be going to Brazil. I am basing that decision on the fact I will not be welcomed by FIFA."

Beckenbauer, an honorary president of Bayern Munich and a special adviser to FIFA's football committee, refused to meet FIFA's ethics investigator Michael Garcia, who is looking into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups won by Russia and Qatar respectively.

There have been allegations of corruption surrounding Qatar's bid, strongly denied by bid leaders, and Beckenbauer said he had a right to keep secret his vote from 2010.

But he added: "People with a memory will remember that I declared just after [the vote] that the choice of Qatar surprised me. And I was one of the first to say that a World Cup over there was impossible and that it would have to be played in winter.

"I have absolutely nothing to hide and I am clearly also of the opinion that there must be sanctions for those responsible when corruption is proved.

"I was ready to answer all pertinent questions, but they sent them to me in a legal English that I could not understand in such a complex case. So I politely asked that the interview be held in German and I was refused. So I said: 'Never mind.'''

Beckenbauer has had business links with both Russia and Qatar but there is no suggestion these influenced his vote, which he has yet to reveal.

He is an ambassador for the Association of Russian Gas Producers, and German media have reported he visited Qatar in June 2011 as part of a business delegation representing the Hamburg-based ship-owning company ER Capital Holding on a trip arranged by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former FIFA member who was banned for life in 2012.

Garcia has completed his investigation into the bidding and his report will now be reviewed by the adjudicatory chamber, which will decide on whether there is to be any action.

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